This is My Story at IDN Times, Media For Millennial and Gen Z. A Summer to remember
Jakarta – Interviewing the President of P&G in Asia-Pacific, meeting the Indonesian Vice President, and covering The Vamps concert, a band I grew up listening to, were only some of the highlights of my internship at . This multi-platform news and entertainment digital media is part of IDN Media, a group media based in Indonesia, founded by Winston Utomo and William Utomo on the 8th June 2014.
As an undergraduate student, internships are important to gain work experience. Interning at given me a lot of not only insight on working life and the media industry but also life skills that I will carry for the rest of my life. Media teaches you many life skills that can be applied to any jobs, such as: discipline, communication skills, boldness, and of course, writing skills.
I was incredibly nervous for my first day at , because of my broken Indonesian. Coming into this internship, I could understand and speak basic Indonesian but had very little knowledge on writing and reading in Indonesian. Even though I am originally from Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia was actually my third language–the one that I struggle the most with. I was born in Argentina and have spent my entire life moving around in 7 countries. I currently study chemical engineering in Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.
To ease into writing in Bahasa, I started with translating and rewriting articles from English. This helped me learn the style of writing I needed to use, learn the difference between formal and informal Bahasa, and how to structure sentences in Bahasa and choose the right words to use.
My first experience on the field was an interview with the P&G President of Asia–Pacific, India Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa, during P&G Indonesia’s 30th birthday celebration. During this interview, I learned that when reporting, journalists have to be fast with asking questions in order to get them answered. There were two other media outlets during this interview and ended up asking most of the questions I had planned to ask because they were forward. Luckily, I was able to develop more questions from previous answers and these ended up being more fitting for the article.
I went to several presentations, discussions, and press briefings during my time at . Among them were discussions about the environment, and press events for Gojek, Pertamina, Lembaga Penjamin Simpanan (LPS), and Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal (BKPM). The easiest out of all of these are the ones on climate change, renewable energy, palm oil, and Pertamina. This is because I had prior knowledge to them, making it easy to understand the content write about.
The most difficult was the ones for BKPM because I had no knowledge on foreign (and local) investments. This taught me that it is best to go to events on topics you have prior knowledge on. Or if there is no other option, it’s best to research as much as you can before.
I also learned a lot about the nature of . Their primary goal is to become a voice for millennials and Gen Z and engage their audience. I wanted to know more about the company as a whole and the process of starting a start-up, so I asked one of the founders, Winston Utomo, some questions to close my internship.
And this is how it went:
5 years ago, when you started IDN Media/IDNTimes, did you think it would become the way it is now?
To be frank, no. Not in dreams, would it become what it is today. More importantly, I never imagined that this company could bring so much impact to millions of people’s lives. Seeing the progress right now I am very happy, but this is just the beginning of our long-term vision.
What have you learned during these past 5 years in growing IDN Media?
First, in building a company the most important thing is a purpose. The reason being, the first few years, you will not see the money at all. You will bleed and spend so much money, with no monetary reward in it. Running a business is not easy, it’s 24/7 and the pressure is immense and constant. The way to overcome all the pressure and obstacles is that you have to have a big purpose, larger than life and everything else.
Second, have a solid team and partner. If you want to start something, always start with a partner. It’s better to have a team of two rather than just yourself. Always have a solid team, people who believe in the vision of the company, who see that what we are building is bigger than themselves.
Third, is the fundamental of the business. What I mean by that is in the end, a business is a business. You have to make a profit, where your revenue should be higher than your expense. You have to think of how you make the product market fit, and also how you can monetize the product. You don’t have to monetize the first few years, but you have to think of how you will monetize in the future.
Lastly, is the speed of executing things. For me, my principle is ‘focus and speed’. Focus means focusing on the key metrics, focusing ruthlessly on the things that matter. Speed means, if you can execute it today then don’t wait until tomorrow. It’s better to make a wrong calculated decision than no decision at all.
Your overall vision for IDN Media is to become the voice of millennials and Gen Z in Indonesia but what is your goal or priority for specifically the next 5 years of growth for IDN Media?
We do not want to become a pure media company, and we’ve never considered ourselves as that. We want to become a content platform for people to consume any information. So, when you open IDN, you can search for anything. From Aceh to Papua, to news, entertainment, lifestyle, to travel.
That’s our long-term vision because if we achieve that, then not only will we have successfully become the biggest in the millennial industry, but we can also impact on a more local or personalized basis. Most content is Jakarta based, but 90 percent of Indonesians do not live in Jakarta.
So, there is an information gap. We want to create content that is relevant to people who live everywhere, 100 kilometres from Palembang, 30 kilometres from Kupang, and so on. We want to make sure our content is relevant and impactful. We want to become the voice of millennials and Gen Z in Indonesia, not only Jakarta or Surabaya or Medan.
What would you say are the biggest challenges in the digital media industry? How are you planning on tackling them?
Many people would say the biggest problem is fake news, or misleading news, but for us, what I see is a lack of quality or relevant content. Misleading news and hoaxes, many media outlets, including us, have tried to address it but there is not yet a platform that can connect every single young Indonesian.
That’s what we want to achieve. We want to reduce the information gap that is happening in Indonesia. Democratizing information is one of the major obstacles and challenges that we want to address, in order to become a first world country by 2045. We need to increase it by 3 times and we only have 25 years before we come to the aging population. This means that education is very important but aside that, we need to equip people with the right information and the right knowledge.
Your 8 values in IDN Media are gender equality, unity in different races and ethnicities, unity in different religions, unity in different worldview, anti-sexual harassment, anti-bullying, anti-stereotyping, and redefining beauty. How do you emphasize these values and in what ways are you getting them across to your audience?
First, we start with the team. It starts with the hiring process. We have to make sure that everyone we hire have those eight values, believes in diversity, and displays inclusion behaviours to one another. How we empower this to our users is through our team members.
So, if our team believes in inclusion, in diversity, in our values, then they will spread these values to our audience via the content that they are making. It starts with the team. If the team believe in those values, they will spread it to our users.
IDN Media is focused on millennials and Gen Z, how are millennial employees different from other generations?
I think every generation has their own uniqueness. The way the media portrays millennials are somewhat misleading for me. They say that millennials are lazy, they don’t like to read, be told what to do, and so on, but I disagree. I think millennials and Gen Z are probably the best generation that we could ever ask for. We see the growth of economy that Indonesia sees, mainly driven by millennials and Gen Z, with the likes of Gojek, Tokopedia, Traveloka.
What makes millennials different from previous generations is we care about purpose, why we are doing this, not what we should do, but why. If we want to make sure that millennials, including myself, give our best, we need to emphasize the why, not the what. Like Steve Jobs always says, it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do, but you can give guidance.
What values do you look for in a prospective employee?
First is passion, they should have passion and obsession with how to contribute and impact society in a positive way. Second is leadership, this doesn’t necessarily mean leading other people but leading yourself, being responsible, discipline, professional, accountable, and taking ownership of your products. Third is attitude, I believe positivity always triumphs negativity. Fourth is integrity, doing the right thing even when no one is watching.
Do you have anything you want to say to interns of IDN Media?
Do not feel entitled. […] We should take ownership of our lives. If you don’t get the job you want to, it’s your fault, never the company’s. If you don’t reach your target, don’t blame it on the clients or company, blame it on yourself. That’s why I always tell myself if I don’t hit certain metrics, it’s my fault. It leads you to be happier, because you know you are in control of everything in life.
Experience over money. Money, fame, status, and roles are byproducts. Never lose education, experience, and network. They are much more valuable. I believe God gives us a portion of life, but not the effort. You have to fight for full potential.
Live life to the fullest. Do not forget that time is limited. Always live in the moment and enjoy every single thing that happens.
While I learned a lot, this past summer, there were also many fun highlights to this internship. One of them, was getting the chance to meet the vice president of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, during a seminar on energy transformation.
The main highlight for me, however, was meeting The Vamps, a band that I have been a big fan of since 2014. Not only did I get to report on their concert in Jakarta, but I also had the chance to meet and talk to them, which is something I will never forget. To have people who you have looked up to for 5 years stand in front of you and talk to you and to be able to know for a fact that they are as kind, talented, and funny in real life as they are on a screen, is surreal.
Another thing that I loved about interning in is that the team is like a family. I instantly felt welcomed, and not a single person hesitated to help when I needed it. This was not only in the office, as I got the same family vibe during events outside of work like #Diskaraoke by IDN.Soundscape.
Out of all my summers in Indonesia, I think that this one was the most memorable and rewarding one. This internship has not only taught me a lot about working and media, but I have met so many amazing people throughout it. It has given me unbeatable memories that I will never forget.
Thank you Timmy,
By Naila Pringgadani